Falklands War poetry by James Love

Poetry, mainly about his 1982 Falklands War experiences,

by British Soldier James Love

James Love trained as a paratrooper and served in Germany, the Falklands and the French Foreign Legion. Most of his poems are about his Falklands Experience.

This is his story.

I was born in Glasgow on the 31 of March in the year 1955. I joined the Army after a brief spell in the City of Glasgow Police. I volunteered for Parachute training in February of 1974. After passing P Company and completing my jump training, I joined 'I' Parachute Battery, Bull's Troop, 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. In 1979 I disappeared whilst in BAOR, Germany and joined the French Foreign Legion where I made the rank of Corporal. Unfortunately, the pay and conditions were not the greatest and I decided to "leave" and rejoin the British Army. After getting out of France, I hitch-hiked back to Osnabruck in West Germany where my unit was now stationed - walking the last 80 kilometres in a blizzard.

After being tried by Court-Martial (under Section 38 of the Army Act 1955) I served 7 months and 11 days (6 weeks of it in solitary) having earned 3 months and 4 days remission of sentence for good behaviour. I returned to Aldershot and joined the Parachute contingent of 4th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and was attached initially to B Company of the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment as a member of the Forward Observation Party (as a signaller directing artillery fire).

I was then transferred to A Company whilst on top of Sussex Mountains in the Falkland Islands in May 1982. I served on attachment to A Company until June 1982 when we returned to the Battery (29 Corunna 4th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery) and 2 Para sailed home to the UK on the "Norland". We flew out some weeks later after being roped-in to guard Galtierri and the rest of the prisoners on the "St Edmund" ferry.

I bought myself out of the Army in 1991 for £200 and am now employed by the Ministry of Defence Police Guarding Agency working at the Royal School of Artillery in Wiltshire - just up the road from Stonehenge.

I have been writing short stories and poetry for years...therapy? Who knows? Not me!!! I have posted in various web sites before - here are two. http://www.postpoems.com/members/giajl/
http://britains-smallwars.com/Jim-Love/intro.htm

Paratrooper's don't die. . . they go to Hell and re-group!!!

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What I miss most

 

I miss the lads.

I miss those crisp clear nights,

when the frost glistens in the moonlight.

I miss those lonely exposed hills,

lashed by the rain.

I miss the young and innocent faces,

some of whom we’ll never see again.

I miss the laughter and the crack.

I miss their morbid humour,

the childish pranks and unspoken laws.

I miss the sense of belonging,

that unique bond.

I miss youth at it’s best,

though I’ll grow old, unlike the rest.

 

What I miss most ?

I miss the lads.

 

James Love

 

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Author's comments on "What I miss most"

I miss the one's that died. I also miss the guys I served in the army with. Some of whom are still alive.

 

 

May 82

May 82

It rained,
and I heard it fall.
Maybe not every drop,

but almost all.

We cut the turf.
And stacked it high.
Two foot thick
and just as wide.

Rain ran down my face
while it filled the hole.
Soaked my clothes.
Washed my soul.

No gentle pitter-patter this,
it crashed.
The wind howled, and blew.
Bayonets slashed.

And all the while,
eight thousand miles away,
you cheered, got drunk, and slept,
in a cosy warm bed.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "MAY 82"
People watched from the comfort of their living rooms. Unless you were actually there, or actually experienced war. You'll never really know.

 

 

One More

They’d got another one last night.
He’s given up the ghost,
He’d given up the fight.
They found him early this morn.
The gaunt and haunted look upon his face. . .
The rope lay wound around the small and twisted form.
No bullet holes or shrapnel wounds,
No blood, no snot, no gore.
Just another casualty
Of a long forgotten war.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "One More"
Several young men in their late twenties suffering from PTSD. Committed suicide prior to parades on the 11 of November 2000.Theirs is an untold chapter in a forgotten war, within the mind.

 

PTSD


I can’t go to bed,
Cause the things in my head,
Make it hard to fall asleep.

It’s like it happened today,
and it won’t go away.
Don’t ask me to try counting sheep.

It’s a part of the past,
They say the memories won’t last.
Times a great healer.

When you’re lying in bed,
They can get in your head,
But only if you go to sleep.

 

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "PTSD"
Some people can close their eyes and get instant wide screen. Unfortunately everybody deals with it differently.

 

Baby’s got Blue Eyes

He removed her fears,
and wiped away the tears,
as she cuddled and hung on to his neck.

The smile on her face,
matched the glow in his heart.
And he realised how lucky he was.

No one can say,
’twere ever a day,
where he’d never paused for thought.

0The thunder rolls,
the rain lashes down,
all the while the dead lie asleep in their beds.

My turn’s been.
There’s some sights I’ve seen,
of which I’ll never talk.

The breathing’s shallow,
while she clutches on tight,
to her green one-eyed teddy.

He can still hear them roar,
as he closes the door,
and switches out the light.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Baby’s got Blue Eyes"
All three of my babies have blue eyes, my wife, my daughter and lastly my son. This was written for my daughter.

 

The Thirty Yard Dash

If he makes thirty yards
I’ll get up and go.
Up and running
Jigging to and fro.

If he makes forty yards
I’ll get up and go.
Is it your fear,
That seems to make him run so slow?

Go boy! Go!
If he makes another ten yards.
I’ll get up and go.
Run boy, go! go! go!

Then you’re there.
You’re up and running.
If I make thirty yards.
Laughing as I go!

You move so slow.
If I make thirty yards.
And if I don’t,
Will I ever Know?

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "The Thirty Yard Dash"
I was that soldier. Coronation Point Falkland Islands 1982. Machine gunner's from hidden trenches opened up on us. It happened like it say's in the poem.

 

Warm Dusky Nights

On warm dusky nights,

where now only the weeds stand guard
watched over by the same moon and stars
men once fought and died.

On ground scorched by fire,

grass now grows,
while in the silent moonlit nights
misty grey figures rise, ready for battle
carrying on a war long ended.

No rattling gun or scream of shells,
no cries from wounded or the dying.
The fit have gone home now.
The dead lie where they've fallen.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Warm Dusky Nights"
I've seen them.

 

First Light

 

It’s dark, but not quite,

It’s almost day, but not quite.

Half haze, grey gloom, but not quite.

Not red, not green, not black, not white.

Almost day, almost, but not quite.

When you differentiate between colours.

You’ve got first light.

 

James Love

 

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Almost day, almost, but not quite.

Author's Comments on "First Light"
Company Sarn't Major Collin Price and I shared a cigarette, on Goat Ridge. He explained first light to me.

 

The Dying Man

Cold.
Afraid and alone.
Lost in the blankets of darkness.
Life slowly seeps from the wounds.

Where now were my comrades?
Who would now comfort me?
I see my mother’s face
Smell her sweet fragrance.

Her tender embrace,
Brings brief warmth.
But not for my body
Only my soul.

My life is nearly over
Before it has scant begun.
My hopes and aspirations
Ended on this dammed hill.

(May 82.)

James Love

 

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Lament of the Dead

What if I should die before the dawn?
And if I should die before the dawn,
What news ho, of me in England?
How cry you now?
Oh, men of mice!
Safe last night you slept.
’Twas the wind of war,
Wot kept me awake.
How say you now friend,
Did we win?

That some sad price was paid
For the laughter of today
That they should not forget.
But never know
The ignominy
Of death
While in their moment’s of play.
Brave men died
Tho’ thousands of miles away
The same sun shone on both.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Lament of the Dead."
When I know what it means. I won't be able to post a comment. I'll probably be dead.

Until

Until you have had the ground beneath your feet disappear.
Seen the sky turn black
and shower you with molten metal fragments.
You'll never know how precious the morning can be
for men at war.
I pray you never have to share the moment.

James Love

 

Left a Bit and Left a Bit

Left a bit
and left a bit
and left a little more.
Now add a bit
and add a little more.
The arc’s not high, as you watch it fly.
Though the chattering rattle, amidst all the battle,
causes your ears to roar.
One belt down, fifty rounds, tracer one in four.
Now left a bit
and left a bit . . .

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Left a Bit and Left a Bit"
I got a hard time because I didn't have any link for the machine guns. But I had a set of laser bino's. So spotted for them.

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Je Touche Moi

Death passed me by,
but he touched my soul.

While his scythe of fiery lead,
cut a swathe through the pre-morn light.

Bony fingers plucked holes in mortal flesh.,
To quench the reaper’s thirst.

He passed me by,
This time.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Je Touche Moi"
Crossing Coronation Point an enemy machine gunner seemed to have a personal vendetta against me. Fortunately he missed.

Fitzroy

Low and fast,
That’s how they came.
Screaming low across the ground.
I swear.
If I’d tried
I could have touched it, as it passed.

A trail of death and devastation,
They’d left behind.
Where the rising black plumes of smoke,
Lay testament to that.
The dead, the maimed,
Trapped on a floating inferno.

In that brief moment.
Fathers, sons and brothers, Died.
The lucky ones that lived.
Bleeding, burnt and scarred, shocked.

Not now, the men I once knew.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Fitzroy"
I can always visualise the grinning SkyHawk pilot as he passed.

 

Adrenaline

Tracer lit the night
while the screams of the dying

were drowned out
by the exploding shells.

No longer cold or wet
no thoughts of hunger.
Just a surge, a rush
the body’d come alive.

James Love

 

Author's Comments on "Adrenaline". It is said that war is made with long periods of boredom interspersed with frantic bursts of activity. It is.

 

Forget Me Not

As you stare into the eyes,
Of the man you call your friend.
To speak the words,
You both know to be a lie.
You find no fear.
May perhaps,
A simple resignation.
Pre-ordained this moment.
’Tis Kismet.
A disciplined death.
A soldier’s fate

James Love

 

Author's Comments on "Forget Me Not"
You take turns to draw the enemy's fire. Skill still needs help at times from "lady luck".

 

Did I hear a soul fall?

Did I hear a soul fall?
With that, his last breath.

Is it a wistful smile?
Or have the muscles just relaxed?

His grip is still firm enough,
Where he grabbed my arm.

No cinematic deaths here,
Just harsh cold reality.

Who will hold me?
When I fall.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Did I hear a soul fall?"
Death to those who don't expect it, or have a fear, can be a messy time in their life. For those of us who know different, its just life's way of telling you it's over, as the bowels empty for the last time, and you shit yourself.

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The Survivors

You feel bad, so you have a little drink .
Another makes you feel better.
Several more makes you feel great.
The devil’s the barman
Hell’s today, purgatory’s tomorrow
Grey steel, black nights
The stars remain the same.
Eight thousand miles away,
They lie in their beds.
Dreams forgotten, ambition’s
unfulfilled.
Integrity, honour, and freedom -
Politician’s words,
For a soldier’s trade is
Death.

James Love

 

The Dying Man

Cold.
Afraid and alone.
Lost in the blankets of darkness.
Life slowly seeps from the wounds.

Where now were my comrades?
Who would now comfort me?
I see my mother’s face
Smell her sweet fragrance.

Her tender embrace,
Brings brief warmth.
But not for my body
Only my soul.

My life is nearly over
Before it has scant begun.
My hopes and aspirations
Ended on this dammed hill.

(May 82)

James Love

 

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When I Go

Place me not beneath mother earth’s soil,
Dig no more trenches for me,
Entomb me not behind some brass plate,
For time to tarnish and neglect.

I still feel the cold winds of the south,
That makes my body ache, yes even now.
So roast my bones quickly,
Let the flames purge my soul.

Scatter my ashes high on a hill,
Like my father before me.
Let the Scottish wind take my earthly remnants,
As I return one last time.

To the land of my birth.

James Love

 

Author's Comments on "WHEN I GO"
Use my donor's card, dispose of the packaging sensibly.

 

Do You Miss the Night

Do you miss the night ?
When it’s cold, wet, and windy.
Drink more than your share!
Do you miss the night?
From the corner of your eye,
You search for the guy
Who’s just not there!
So you buy yourself a dog.
Do you miss the night ?

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "Do You Miss the Night"
I used to take my dog for long walks at night. The darkness is sometimes everybody's friend. Dogs don't talk back.


The Road To "KANDAHAR"

You, with your neat picket fence
And freshly mown lawn.
Where only the occasional daisy
Pokes through.

Sedately content
You survey your domain.

While I, ignored by the passing thrall
I sit on this dusty plain
My withered limbs
Say it all

Too sick to move
I await Kismet.

As far as the eye can see
Caught in the dying sun’s rays
The glint and glitter
Of the death that surrounds me

Thousands of miles away
You decide my fate.

’Tis not gold that’s a lying
But the brass casing’s
Left in pitiful piles
From the lead that’s been flying

Too scared to close my eyes
Should I not wake.

The sky fills with death
While the ground trembles
No trace they’ll find
Of my insignificant bones

Ramadan’s done
‘Tis the time of Christ.

All this
While you reach for your morning coffee.
As I lay dying
On the road to Kandahar.

James Love

 

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Author's Comments on "The Road To ‘Kandahar’."
Bob Hope at least got Jane Russell when he was on the roads.

 

The British Empire

Truly

Brave men died here today.

Did the swaying grass bring forth your tears?

Will this land which touched,

Nay claimed your soul.

Stay serene forever, and remain theirs now?

Or will man’s greed once more

Bring forth the havoc that is war.

To find our children

Or God forbid our children’s children.

So they too, will one day lay

Beneath that foreign soil

That we now call the Empire!

James Love

 

Jihad

What say you Knight Templar?
Does this war bring forth forgotten memories?
Does that dammed sand, still fly?
Bite and infest the cup?
Centuries have passed,
Though, the cause is still the same?

That flag that with cross and colour,
That flew night and day.
This now has the heavens stars transposed,
Though this day and the morrow,
We fight for no Pope of Rome.
Be this no Crusade.

The principles of man,
Have lapsed,
Though time irrespective.
Their greed remains.
Oil enough now,
Though none now clear enough to anoint.

James Love

 

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Poems copyright © 2004 James Love.

Paratrooper's don't die. . . they go to Hell and re-group!!!

Poems by  Cesca M. Croft

How this poem came about

This came to mind too, remembering how it was, after the men came back from Atlantic duty, wondering about the attack on the Belgrano; and those who still suffer from post traumatic stress disorder - sounds of fireworks upsetting them, programmes on TV that drag it all up again, Remembrance Day services that bring the anger back. Then the medals. What were the medals for ? The futility of it all.

So this is what I saw when the men came back from the Falklands . . .

They say that time is a healer.

Time numbs the mind,

blanks out the memories.

But then you hear the fireworks

and in the dark of the night

you can still die ~ of fright.

Just the sound ~ of the bangs ~ all around

like guns, triggers the memory,

the fear, the cold sweats,

of being fired at ~

Up in the sky, over the sea,

no self defence, in foreign territory ~

The crew is gripped with fear,

nerves in shreds, mouth deadly dry ~

We could be dead soon,

we could plunge to the icy sea,

disappear under the Atlantic,

never to be found again.

"Lost at sea"

R.I.P.

Back home again

for a week or two ~

We're at a party

It's so unreal

I curl up in a corner,

head in hands.

I can be me again

the real Me,

the husband, the father,

the neighbour.

This is Me.

Now I can cry ...

gentle arms hold me close.

What I have seen

won't go away.

It's still here, 20 years on,

and every firework

that you casually let off

proves that time

is not a healer.

Cesca M Croft

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Watching the programmes about Auschwitz on tv, seeing how anybody who was different was sidelined by the Nazis, made me think about how people are racially discriminated against from all angles. After wars, people are also pigeon-holed as from the enemy gang.

My father cycled round NW London looking for a doctor to come and help when I was born. I was bleeding internally. It was a Sunday afternoon and none of the English doctors would come out and help. We had a German surname. Then my father found a Jewish lady doctor, who came along and saved my life, with an injection of vitamin E.

Would English doctors now dare to refuse to go and treat a Muslim baby ? Can hate do so much to people that they take it out on a new born baby with the wrong surname ?

Do English Jews still face anti-Semitism in this country ?

The year my father died, at 67, he told me to aim to make the world a better place, to encourage ecumenical conference and tolerance of other religions, because if we took the best qualities from each religion and denomination and founded a global ethos of spirituality, we could fight evil that way; and maybe then wars would stop, never again a holocaust such as at Auschwitz and Treblinka. Yet there was evil in Rwanda and Iraq, and many other similar occurrences after Hitler and the Nazis in the 20th century. When will humankind ever learn ?

Hence the following, not well written :

1947 Lottery of Birth

Doctor Josef escaped the Nazis

Escaped to Outer London.

After the War

A knock on her door:

"Please come

Please help."

Someone asking me

Someone calling me Doctor -

"Your name, Sir, your name ....

Ah but that is German ..."

"Yes, yes, but from long ago,

Two centuries ago !!

It is just our name -"

"So, you too are victims.

How cruel was this war."

"English doctors will not help -

My baby daughter, new born,

Will bleed to death -

Please come."

"Come, let us go -

On our bikes !

I have the Vitamin K.

Your baby's life

We will now save."

And she did. They did.

Thank you Dr Josef.

So I became my father's

Second daughter.

 

Cesca M Croft

26 January 2005

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